Fisheries Offences Consultation Reply 2008


The proposed categories cover minor fisheries offences only, with serious offences being referred to court for prosecution. Do you agree that this is appropriate?

The seriousness of offences needs to be aligned with environmental and sustainability imperatives and defined in a European context re the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

There also needs to be recognition of the need for legal structures to be defined in the context of local sustainability and socio economic interests.

A self help programme for fishermen and associate industries to accommodate training and educational needs regarding the aims of policy makers to facilitate compliance with fishery restrictions pre empting the need for FAPS would be extremely useful. FAPS and referral to court are necessary measures when flouting laws is against the aims for the greater good.

Local groups need to define a way forward and be given a chance to achieve sustainability, proactively, and which builds up future stocks and the long term future of the fishing industry.

Minor infringements should be considered more serious if they cumulatively contribute to unsustainable practice that undermines the greater good for local communities and wider European context. 


Do you agree with the proposed method for valuing the catch?

Is it fair?

The driving context agenda is sustainability, future stocks and responsible fishing to facilitate a long term valuable future. It is therefore unfair that any one is allowed (encouraged, incentivised) to fish unsustainably by impairing the greater good, for example by catching unavoidable by catch. This needs to be addressed sensitively so that fishermen aren’t criminalised on the basis of accidental by catch. I.e. when a significant reasonable effort is made to avoid by catch. If this is the case adjustments need to be made to meet best / most practical long term sustainable goals.

Need to balance biological ecology imperative with socio economic factors.

The market value of the catch needs to be balanced with the need for sustainability, future prosperity and the need to conserve and rebuild stocks. Any infringement which affects the ecological balance required for sustainability needs to be challenged. For example, would more be achieved by disincentifising by catch.    


Do you agree that the penalty categories are set at the correct penalty level?

There is a need to consider the whole supply chain and assess against sustainability criteria. Therefore a marketing strategy, processing strategy or fishing strategy which encourages, facilitates, unsustainable fishing practice needs to be challenged. Who is at fauIt for driving unsustainable practice? The Fishermen or the processors? A process for identifying the key factors responsible for negatively impacting on sustainability is needed. Therefore it is crucial that fisheries offences are addressed to achieve sustainability. All Offences need an appropriate weighting in the context of sustainability.


Do you agree with: 

–           the maximum penalty of £4,000;

–           the size of the penalty at each level; and

–           doubling the penalty for second offences?

 The approach outlined above seems reasonable. However it will be necessary to ensure that fishermen are given time to understand new law and that they are given practical support to alter their fishing procedures should they find it is excessively difficult to comply. There is a responsibility on the “authorities” to facilitate understanding of new rules for the greater future good.


What additional factors should be taken into consideration when deciding if the penalty should be increased to the next level?

 Reasonable Time to alter behaviour/ application of new technology and or understanding

Consider the total ecological and sustainability impact and balance with fairness for a response time. Have all reasonable steps been taken to comply with demands. Is there a means of reasonable appeal.


Is the proposed system easily understood?

It is clear. However much more needs to be done to ensure that the rules are being imposed to achieve a greater good and sustainability for the future and for fishermen to have a reasonable resource to reasonable appeal and time to respond, re urgency of need.

Additional Questions


Do you have any comments on the Draft Regulatory Impact Assessment?

 The three option presented are clearly stated.

 However in deciding which option to select, (or combination of) it is essential to consider ultimate aims.

Ie Sutaianbiltiy of fisheries around local coasts and beyond

                      Need for understanding of the issues by fisher men and processors

                        Need to ensure compliance with common good goals

                        Utility, fairness, and opportunities for pro activity beyond legislation.

                        Imperative for locally managed responsibility to stakeholders 

                        Mechanism for hearing( appeal) and  understanding.

                        Tough measures are essential to ensure progress towards greater common good goal .Generally communication  education, training and understanding will be crucial to ensure sustainability. Administrative shortcuts and savings per say will not achieve optimum sustainability but needs to assessed in light of best sustainable outcomes.  



Does the Draft Statutory Rule achieve the policy proposal?


       5. How to respond


5.1       You may send your comments about this proposal in writing to:


Alan Brown


Sea Fisheries Policy Branch

Room 427

Dundonald House

Upper Newtownards Road

Belfast, BT4 3SB 


or via email to


to be received by 25th March 2008



This consultation paper can be found on:

This document has been distributed in hard copy to:

  • Vessel Owners
  • Interested UK Government Departments, Agencies and NDPBs
  • Producer Organisations
  • Local government
  • Commercial fishermen’s organisations


5.2       Hard copies of all documentation associated with this consultation can be made available on request in alternative formats including Braille, disc, audiocassette, large print or minority languages. If you consider that your views can be sought better through other means, the Department will be happy to arrange to meet with representative groups or discuss your views via telephone. Copies of the documents in other formats can also be obtained from the above address.

The Department intends to publish the responses received during this consultation. Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, we intend to publish the name and address of the author along with the response. If you do not wish to be identified as the author of your response, or you do not wish the response to be published, please state this when sending us your response. 

Data Protection / Freedom of Information

The Department will ensure that any personal information supplied to it is dealt with in a way that complies with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998. This means that any personal information you supply will be processed principally for the purpose for which it has been provided.

However, the Department may also use it for other legitimate purposes in line with the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

5.5       Comments or complaints about the consultation process (as opposed to comments about the issue which is the subject of the consultation) should be addressed to:

DARD Equality Branch
Room 509
Dundonald House
Upper Newtownards Road
Belfast BT4 3SB

     6. Next Steps


6.1       Following the 12 week consultation exercise and evaluation of comments, a summary of responses will be published and personalised replies will be sent to respondents.

         7. Consultation


7.1       Following consultation, we propose to introduce the appropriate Statutory Rule in time for the scheme to be implemented during 2008. We will subsequently be seeking powers in primary legislation to enable the scheme to be extended beyond CFP offences to include domestic offences.

7.2              The Department for Environment and Rural Affairs and the Scottish Government are consulting on proposals for England and Wales and Scotland respectively in parallel with this exercise. Some slight differences exist between the administrations due primarily to different legal systems. Their consultation documents can be found on:



Paper copies can be supplied on request from Enforcement Policy Branch on 0207 270 8615 ;

Scottish Government

            Or, requested in hard copy from:

            Jamie Combe

518 Pentland House

47 Robb’s Loan


EH14 1TY

Tel: 0131 244 6593


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